About Us

OUR ARTISTS

We are proud Prince George's County residents, and your neighbors!

We believe every home and community should have a Teaching Artist as their own personal creative imagineer partner.

Jennifer Ridgway Headshot

Jennifer Ridgway

Director of the Yard

Theatre Teaching Artist

Jennifer believes the arts build communities and create happy, engaged members. Trained in theatre, storytelling, music, dance, puppetry, and critical literacy, she has worked with Wolf Trap, the Maryland State Department of Education Fine Arts Office, Imagination Stage, Fulton Theatre, Smithsonian’s Discovery Theatre, Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre Programs, and Lucy School. Her artistic works include directing dual-language productions of CHITTY, CHITTY BANG, BANG, and SEUSSICAL in Beijing, China. Jennifer received an MFA in Theatre for Youth (University of North Carolina, Greensboro) and a BA in Acting (University of Maryland, College Park). She holds a certificate from the University of Pennsylvania in Arts and Culture Strategy and participated in the inaugural cohort for the Anti-Racist Educators of the Arts Learning Lab. As a passionate advocate for Teaching Artists and arts education and creative lifelong learning, Jennifer Co-Founded the Teaching Artists of the Mid-Atlantic and serves as Vice President.

Penny Russell Headshot

Penny Russell

Director of the Dramas

Puppeteer, Performer, and Teaching Artist

Penny is a Master Teaching Artist with Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts; and teaches Music, Drama, Puppetry, and Self-Advocacy through the Arts to children and adults on the autism spectrum for ArtStream. She was a soloist with the Roland Cumberland Orchestra, the Paul Wade Orchestra, and most recently, The Dukes of Rhythm under the direction of Marshall Hawkins. She studied Folklore and Mythology at the University of Maryland, College Park where she received BAs in Sociology and English. She has performed for Wolf Trap, The Kennedy Center, Adventure Theater, The Puppet Company, and the National Theater among others; and has presented workshops for the National Science Teachers Convention, Wolf Trap, The Kennedy Center, The Actor’s Center, and schools across the country. She loves connecting and communicating through the arts; and believes that the arts are for everyone.

OUR PROCESS & THE EXPERIENCE

It can be challenging to explain who we are and what will happen when we collaborate. Each Yard Dramas community adds its fabulousness. Unique stories, themes, topics, languages, cultures, experiences, goals, interests, dreams.

Our Process

Our Process Workbook
Click here to explore the guideposts of our process.

While we don't know everything that will happen on your journey together, our process workbook identifies the guideposts you can expect.

Our Experience

Yard Dramas Social Story
Click here to read a Social Story that depicts our hallmark program.

Developed to support people with autism, everyone can benefit from reading a social story. We would be happy to adapt this one about our hallmark program to your specific community and project!

OUR HISTORY

As the world was forced to shelter in place and in the early days of the pandemic, herself forced into unemployment, Jennifer Ridgway recognized how her artistry could serve the community. She began presenting drama sessions in the yards of her neighbors to help young children overcome loneliness and enter into imaginary play. Yard Dramas brings Prince George's County Teaching Artists together in a collective to reach more Prince George's County individuals, families, and communities with high-quality performing arts programming that responds to community needs.

We are committed to arts education and creative life-long learning for all. As proud Prince George's County residents, our goal is to help our community rebuild and reimagine in the post-pandemic and beyond.

Join the journey! Come outside. Play with us.

Learn more about our programs

Take a trip back to August 2020...

FEE POLICY

We are committed to our values and will not turn anyone away!

Yard Dramas are accessible to everyone regardless of their financial resources and circumstances. Our fees recognize differences in wealth, income, and privilege within our community and simultaneously keep us, teaching artists in the community, employed. This is a delicate balance, and it requires us to re-set and re-define our values.

Historically, teaching artists have been undervalued. We believe we bring value to the community. Check out the Teaching Artist Guild's Pay Calculator. We understand that you may not be able to meet the suggested fees. Your awareness alone will move the field of teaching artistry forward and help our society recognize pay equity as a social justice issue.

Join the Yard Dramas Community!